UK's Centrica Brings Blockchain to Power Generation Sector

British energy supplier Centrica has partnered with a technology firm to harness the potential of the blockchain in power generation.

British energy supplier Centrica Business has initiated a trial to explore how blockchain technology could be utilized to transform the way consumers buy and sell energy and unlock savings for homes and business power users.

Centrica chief executive Mark Hanafin commented:

“The proliferation of digital technologies is having a significant impact on the energy industry, allowing us to find new and better ways of delivering energy and services to our customers. This is an exciting opportunity for us to test blockchain technology beyond the theoretical and put it into practice, developing innovative new solutions that will empower consumers in the UK, North America and beyond to take control of how they engage with energy.”

The trial, which is a collaboration with energy blockchain venture LO3 Energy, will see Centrica deploy the technology in its Local Energy Market (LEM) program in a bid to explore disruptive approaches to the traditional industry model.

Centrica Business Solutions created the LEM to study the part played by distributed generation and storage in enhancing grid flexibility in south-west England.

LO3 Energy chief executive Lawrence Orsini added:

“Exergy is designed to empower new prosumers while enabling traditional industry players to shift business models and find their place in the energy market of the future. Our partnership with Centrica and Direct Energy will trigger adoption for Exergy at a scale that will bring trustworthy disruption to the industry.”

Centrica Innovations bought a stake in LO3 Energy under a 100 million pound ($135.3 million) initiative to identify and accelerate emerging technologies that promise to change the way we live and work.

Blockchain in energy

Centrica is not the first company to utilize blockchain in the power generation space. Last month, Power Ledger partnered with Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) to democratize the trade of excess power produced by consumers.

The Australian startup allows its customers to trade electricity freely using its platform.

Also, an Australian coal-fired power plant in Hunter Valley, New South Wales was repurposed to provide a cheap alternative source of energy to the blockchain community in the region in a bid to attract blockchain players.

The IOT Blockchain Application Centre (BAC) power plant will be maintained by IOT Group in collaboration with renewable energy-focused utility company Hunter Energy. The partnership aims to make the power plant operational next year.

IOT Group executive director Sean Neylon stated:

“The reasons why blockchain specialists are not in Australia is because power costs are too high, it’s not efficient. Power at wholesale cost would make blockchain-related operations attractive in Australia.”